NASA caught the sun smiling at us, but a smile could indicate a solar storm


NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an image of the “smiling” sun at 193 angstroms of light on October 26.

NASA/GSFC/SDO


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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an image of the “smiling” sun at 193 angstroms of light on October 26.

NASA/GSFC/SDO

This week, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the sun image In ultraviolet light it contains three dark spots that look like a smiling face – a face that could indicate a solar storm with problems for the Earth.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center released a small geomagnetic storm watch in effect for Saturday. While geomagnetic storms can create beautiful auroras in the sky, they can also disrupt GPS and create harmful currents in the power grid and pipelines.

Dark spots, known as coronal holes, are regions where the solar wind escapes more quickly and easily into space, making these regions cooler. These winds can reach speeds of 1.8 million miles per hour, according to the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

People have taken advantage of the opportunity to make memes and edit the Smiling Sun to look like a jack lantern or the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Stay Buffet Marshmallow Man From the Ghostbusters franchise.

NASA took pictures of the sun in 2014 that also resembled a jack-o-lantern, titled “Pumpkin Sun”. The regions that made up the Jack-o’-lantern’s face were active regions of the Sun, indicating perturbations in the magnetic field that produce solar storms such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections.


Active areas on the sun gave him the appearance of a jack-o-lantern. This image is a mixture of 171 and 193 angstroms of light as captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on October 8, 2014.

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Active areas on the sun gave him the appearance of a jack-o-lantern. This image is a mixture of 171 and 193 angstroms of light as captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on October 8, 2014.

NASA/GSFC/SDO

Because the human eye cannot perceive certain wavelengths of sunlight, solar physicists use telescopes that can image the Sun in the extreme ultraviolet spectrum. SDO uses 13 different wavelengths of light to highlight a specific part of the Sun’s atmosphere.

“Ultraviolet rays from the sun can tell us the origins of solar storms that can lead to power outages, cell phone disruptions, and package delays due to aircraft diversions from over the pole,” Joseph Gorman, Scientist at Solar. The Data Analysis Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center told NASA.

Wednesday’s photo was taken at 193 angstroms of light, giving it a bright yellow-orange color. The 2014 photo was taken with a mixture of 171 and 193 angstroms of light, coloring the sun gold and yellow “to create a Halloween-like appearance,” according to NASA.

Both photos were taken in October just in time for the Halloween season.


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